Ensuring Your BYOD Culture Stays Safe and Secure

As ever more sophisticated consumer technology emerges into everyday life, so SMEs have increasingly started to introduce Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies into their IT set-up.

It’s a reaction to the fact that mobile use is such a ubiquitous part of modern life, and that the technology staff own is likely to be updated and modernised with a frequency greater than can be managed in-house.

BYOD cultures can benefit business

Furthermore, there are a number of reasons that make the adoption of a BYOD culture, either in whole or in part, appealing to a small or medium-sized business.

  • Productivity can be improved
  • Staff are more comfortable using devices they own and understand
  • Maintenance and hardware expenses are reduced

But there are security issues of which you need to be aware

Of course, internet security is a concern, whether company-owned devices or BYOD.

As we’ve looked at before, the risk of attacks, hacks, and exposure to viruses, ransomware, DDoS and data theft is very real, and something to which all companies must be always vigilant.

When you adopt a BYOD policy, you need to be aware of additional areas of vulnerability, given the wider number of different devices having access to your system.

Cyber-attack is one of the greatest fears of the modern business environment, with attacks seen as virtually inevitable at one time or another.  And this notion of when an attack hits, rather than if an attack hits, should serve as the basis of your security measures when trying to create a BYOD environment that offers the benefits you want while keeping risk to a minimum.

The need for a robust policy

If staff are using their own devices for work purposes, then common sense dictates that you need to have some guidelines when it comes to network access and general use. This might include:

  • Ensuring all devices on the system can be accessed by IT support
  • That there’s a way to wipe company data from a device should the staff member leave the business
  • That access to specific areas of the network can be controlled on devices where necessary
  • If a device is stolen, access to the company network can be blocked on the device

Suitable cross-device virus protection

Similarly, any personal device used for work purposes should still adhere to the levels of security and anti-virus protection that you would expect across your entire network.

This means ensuring that appropriate anti-virus software and firewalls are installed to the specification that your IT support deem suitable.

Regulate messenger usage

With the increase of personal messenger services such as Skype or WhatsApp, there’s a heightened risk of data leakage. Consider whether there’s a risk of unsanctioned file transfers via these routes on private devices and whether regulation of the use of them is needed.

Using remote Wi-Fi and Internet connections

One of the reasons for adopting BYOD is that so many people now work on a remote basis, carrying out tasks and admin from different locations. This throws up another risk in that not all internet connections are made equal. Public servers in coffee shops might be extremely convenient, but they’re also much easier breached.

While simple daily tasks can be accomplished without too much worry, if you are handling or sharing sensitive data, then doing so on more secure, private networks would be more appropriate and certainly safer.

Adopt Encryption

For high-level security, it’s hard to overlook the importance of encryption. And with an increase in privately owned devices, it can be a crucial security barrier. Knowing that company data is well and truly hidden behind an encrypted code offers peace of mind that should an employee lose a phone, or sell it on without scrubbing after an upgrade, the data can still be kept from unscrupulous hands and eyes.

Adopting a BYOD culture can certainly bring with it a series of benefits to the business when it comes to staff morale, cost, and efficiency. However, it must always be balanced against the level of additional risk that comes when any new device gains access to your network.

By encouraging appropriate use, putting into place approved policies, and being rigorous in your security measures, you can go great lengths to minimising that risk, and keeping your network and data protected. 

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Related blogs: SabreICT

Tagged with: bring your own device, BYOD, cyber protection, data breach, IT security

Categorised as: SabreICT

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